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Natural Resources & Energy

National Parks And Forests Ask Visitors To Plan Ahead With Busy Summer Expected

Grand Teton National Park

Even in the height of the pandemic last summer, visitors came rushing to national parks and forests in Wyoming. Officials are preparing for an even crazier summer season this year.

Grand Teton National Park's Denise Germann said that's great, but a lot of the visitors have little experience planning ahead for outdoor recreation

"We're seeing people with new campers and RVs and camper vans," said Germann. "We're finding people that are putting up a tent for the first time. We're finding people that are recreating in bear country that have never been in bear country before."

Germann said the lack of experience resulted in visitors not planning where to camp and would try to set up shop on the side of the road, which is illegal.

Mary Cernicek, public affairs officer with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, said they experienced similar problems.

"One of the ones that really hit home for us last season and we see it whenever we have an influx of people is abandoned campfires," said Cernicek.

Cernicek said visitors would just dump a little water on the fire and think the fire was dead. But she said the forest identifies any campfire that still emits heat as an abandoned one.

Both Cernicek and Germann are urging visitors to plan their trip ahead so that it is enjoyable as well as to recreate responsibly.

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